Melt in your mouth comforting fall-inspired mac and cheese that comes together in one pan and in 30 minutes. The pasta shells are tossed in a creamy cheesy gooey sauce with pumpkin, warm spices, fresh herbs and topped with sage gluten free breadcrumbs.
Mac and cheese definitely takes us back! Growing up I am sure many like us made kraft dinner during those summer months off. It was quick and easy and always hit the spot. Now that we are cooking for others and no longer kids it’s time to make our own version that’s not straight out of a box. I am sure the boys would love good old fashioned KD however when making your own isn’t so complicated well let’s just say we should keep the boxed version as a back pocket option for when we have kids. Making mac and cheese is fairly versatile. It can be adapted to include seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices, lighter or heavier cheeses. Just like most pastas, it’s a great way to stick with something you are familiar with as a base and mix in a few new things with the changing seasons.
Carbs just taste better when it’s cold out and when you’ve worked hard to earn them. It takes away the feeling guilty part when your “carbing up” on game day or just looking for something to hit the spot on a cold day. In this recipe we added nutritional yeast as a substitute for the lack of protein and vitamins. It also doubles up as a “cheese flavour” even though we are using cheese in the sauce and helps thicken the sauce as nut milks tend to be thinner and water like. If you are not familiar with nutritional yeast it is most know to taste nutty and cheesy often used as a nutritional supplement. It’s great for sauces, pastas, and used as a condiment.
This recipe can easily be doubled and made in a larger heavy bottom sauce pot if you’d like to store extra meals in the freezer. Simply pour a little bit of sauce at the bottom of each baking dish, add the pasta and finish with more sauce overtop followed by the breadcrumbs. Another great option would be to just store the sauce and make fresh pasta and breadcrumbs the day of. Prepared pasta dishes will keep in the freezer for 2 months.
For the cheese we went with a blend that are great for pastas, sauces, soups, and melt perfectly. We selected swiss gruyere for it’s smooth-melting texture, gouda for its smoky taste (non aged), parmesan and a blend of cheddar to add a bit of orange colour to the sauce.